Three years of SELF: A look back on the past few years
It’s been three years since SELF became more than just a project in my head, the first jars were delivered and the first sales were made. Sometimes I don’t even realize how far we’ve come in those three years! A lot of things have changed during that time. We’ve gathered a fantastic team of 4 people plus 3 freelancers, and I no longer have to fold boxes myself at my kitchen table. When I first started I only had a pallet in my garage, and now we’ve got an entire warehouse were all of our products are carefully stored and sorted. I’ve had to learn a lot about dealing with difficulties of entrepreneurship in those three years, such as cameras, interview, negotiating with business partners, studying skin care… It’s an exciting and fantastic adventure nonetheless! We’ve even made our first steps in the international market! The several awards we’ve won serve as a confirmation of our good work.
Dealing with challenges
I’d be lying if I said everything went smoothly. Every business has to deal with challenges and everyone runs into obstacles, even if they may not seem like it at first. That side of running a business isn’t promoted on any social media, everything seems perfect but trust me, it isn’t. Entrepreneurship is having to deal with a lot of ‘little fires’ and finding solution, don’t get stuck in your problems but keep moving forward. During the past three years, the thought ‘I can’t do this’ crossed my mind more than I’d care to admit…
As a startup you’ll run into some challenges, the financial side may be the biggest one of all. Because at the end of the day there have to be enough funds to restock and produce. You can look at entrepreneurship as a game, where you have to find a new solution every time. I admit I thought ‘now what’ a lot of times, in that case I try to put the situation into perspective and seek out the best possible solution.
The good times
Coincidentally I’ve started with the ‘less than good’ side of entrepreneurship, but there are actually more good than bad moments. I’m so extremely proud of my team, every day we’re working on a better future for SELF together and it’s been so nice to see us growing strong! The team spirit is important to me and it helps us give the full 100%. We also get so many mails or reviews from happy customers and it gives us all that extra dose of energy we need! I put my heart and soul into this business and I’m so gratefull for the help of my team and SELF’s investors. It takes bravery to risk these things, sometimes you have to jump into it and allow yourself to be vulnerable… That’s the only way to grow and achieve something.
International press and awards
In those three years we’ve attracted a lot of attention from the press, both inside and outside of Belgium. International magazines such as Vogue and The Cosmopolitan wrote columns on SELF. Sometimes I still can’t believe that we’ve achieved this with our ‘little’ Belgian brand in such a short period. I’m so proud to have won these awards on behalf of SELF from the international beauty press in Italy, the UK and US for best natural and vegan products. The jury had experts out of the beauty sector, so it’s a little extra confirmation of our work!
SELF in 5 years
We’re constantly busy with the here and now, yet we’re also planning on the future. SELF in 5 years will still have the same great team, but maybe a little bigger. We’ll grow step by step, expand our range of products and set foot outside of our country. Big plans to calmly work on :-).
Setting our first steps outside of our country have already been made, SELF can be found in the UK, Poland and The United States. Last month we were present at Beauty World Middle East, a big event in the beauty sector. And an adventure I’m curious about taking on to see if we can get the men and women out of the Middle East to meet SELF.
Start with the beginning
A business, a brand, a product… Nothing comes into existence all at once. Often times we roughly know where we want to go, but it’s a long road. A tip I’d like to give starting entrepreneurs: start with the beginning and enjoy taking it step by step. Keep faith in your work and don’t let yourself be distracted. A lot of people will try to tell you how to do things, but at the end of the day the most important thing is your belief in your brand and yourself. And being able to surround yourself with the right people will help you achieve so much more.
Here’s to many more beautiful years!